Structural and functional differences of the carotid body between DBA/2J and A/J strains of mice

Shigeki Yamaguchi, Alexander Balbir, Brian Schofield, Judith Coram, Clarke G. Tankersley, Robert S. Fitzgerald, Christopher P. O'Donnell, Machiko Shirahata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


In a previous study, DBA/2J and A/J inbred mice showed extremely different hypoxic ventilatory responses, suggesting variations in their carotid bodies. We have assessed the morphological and functional differences of the carotid bodies in these mice. Histological examination revealed a clearly delineated carotid body only in the DBA/2J mice. Many typical glomus cells and glomeruli appeared in the DBA/2J but not in the A/J mice. The size of the carotid body in the DBA/2J and A/J mice was 6.3 ± 0.5 × 106 and 1.5 ± 0.3 × 106 μm3, respectively. The area immunostained for tyrosine hydroxylase, an estimation of the glomus cell quantity, was four times larger in the DBA/2J mice than in the A/J mice. The individual data points in the DBA/2J mice segregated from those in the A/J mice. ACh increased intracellular Ca2+ in most clusters (81%) of cultured carotid body cells from the DBA/2J mice, but only in 18% of clusters in the A/J mice. These data suggest that genetic determinants account for the strain differences in the structure and function of the carotid body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1536-1542
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Genetic determinants
  • Hypoxic ventilatory response
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Intracellular calcium
  • Morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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